Trump’s travel ban: Companies and executives speak out

Protesters gather in Battery Park and march to the offices of Customs and Border Patrol in Manhattan to protest President Trump's Executive order imposing controls on travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, January 29, 2017 in New York. / AFP / Bryan R. Smith (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

Tech executives in particular have expressed deep concern about President Trump’s ban on travel by citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. But leaders of companies across the economy are speaking out.

Immigrants have played a big role building some major U.S. companies, particularly in tech. A 2011 report from the Partnership for a New American Economy estimates that 45% of high-tech companies in the Fortune 500 were founded by first- or second-generation Americans.

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and CEO Mark Fields

In a memo to employees, they said they do not support the ban. “Respect for all people is a core value of Ford Motor Company, and we are proud of the rich diversity of our company here at home and around the world,” they wrote.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

“Trump’s actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all,” Hastings said on Facebook. “Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies) rather than more safe.”

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

“We are living in an unprecedented time,” Schultz said in a memo to Starbucks employees. He pledged to hire 10,000 refugees over five years in the 75 countries where Starbucks does business to “reinforce our belief in our partners around the world.”

Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi
Khosrowshahi spoke of his family’s emigration to the United States after the Iranian Revolution in 1978, and the sense of relief that “we were welcome now, and we would be welcome tomorrow.”

He wrote to Expedia employees: “I believe that with this Executive Order, our President has reverted to the short game. The U.S. may be ever so slightly less dangerous as a place to live, but it will certainly be seen as a smaller nation, one that is inward-looking versus forward thinking, reactionary versus visionary.”

Khosrowshahi pledged that Expedia would work with employees to “ease any pain or difficulties you are having” as a result of the ban.

New York Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson and Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger

“We are committed to diversity of talent, thought and ideas and the fair and equal treatment of all employees, whatever their background,” they said in a memo to staff. “We will do everything in our power to support and protect every one of our colleagues, regardless of their race, country of origin, and religion or belief system.”

They specified they were speaking as employers, not about the editorial opinion or news reporting of The Times. The Times editorial board on Saturday called the ban cruel, bigoted, cowardly and self-defeating.

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Cook issued a letter, obtained by CNN, reacting to what he called “deep concerns” among employees. He assured workers that Apple does not support Trump’s policy and the company is prepared to help them.

“Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do,” Cook said.

Google

Google sent a memo to its employees urging anyone with a visa or green card from one of the banned countries to cancel travel plans.

“Please do not travel outside of the U.S. until the ban is lifted. While the entry restriction is currently only in place for 90 days, it could be extended with little or no warning,” reads the memo, which was reviewed by CNN.

Microsoft executive Brad Smith

Microsoft said it employs 76 people that could be affected by the ban. Smith said in an email to employees, which was shared on LinkedIn, that it will provide “legal advice and assistance” to those affected.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink

He wrote to employees: “We, of course, all want to promote security and combat terrorism, but we believe it needs to be done with respect for due process, individual rights and the principle of inclusion.”

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

Dorsey called the potential impact of Trump’s decision “real and upsetting.”

General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt

Immelt said, in a memo on the G employee blog, that he shares the “concern” felt by his employees and said the company has many employees from the countries named in the ban.

“These employees and customers are critical to our success and they are our friends and partners,” he wrote, adding that GE would “stand with them” and try to find a balance between security and “movement of law abiding people.”

Immelt was one of 28 business leaders named to a council to advise Trump on manufacturing growth.

JPMorgan Chase

The bank said it has reached out to employees on sponsored visas who could be affected by the executive order. CEO Jamie Dimon is on Trump’s business and economic council.

“We want every one of you to know of our unwavering commitment to the dedicated people working here at JPMorgan Chase,” the statement said.

Trip Advisor CEO Stephen Kaufer

Trip Advisor’s CEO wrote in a Linkedin post that Trump’s immigration ban is “not only heartless and discriminatory, but also against the principles that make our country great.”

Kaufer also said in a tweet that “We need to do more, not less, to help refugees,” and said the action was “wrong on humanitarian grounds, legal grounds, and won’t make us ‘safer.'” In a separate tweet, he called out Republican lawmakers: “You can’t sit this one out.”

Chorus CEO Dick Costolo

Chorus CEO and former Twitter chief executive Costolo called Trump a “a coward” on Saturday.

Salesforce executive Vala Afshar

Afshar tweeted a list of U.S. tech companies that were founded by immigrants, including Apple, Google and IBM.

Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham

Graham said, “This is a good time to remember that without immigration the U.S. will only have 5% of the top people in each field.”

Y Combinator president Sam Altman

Altman criticized Trump’s move in a blog post. He called on tech executives to publicly speak out against Trump’s executive order “at a minimum.”

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner

Weiner said “all ethnicities should have access to opportunity, calling it a “founding principle” of the United States.

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman

Stoppelman called it a “sad day” for America.

Investor Chris Sacca

“Shark Tank” star and tech investor Chris Sacca promised to match up to $50,000 worth of donations to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Box CEO Aaron Levie

Levie also promised to donate to the ACLU and called Trump’s actions “immoral.”

Path CEO Dave Morin

Morin called it “one of the weakest decisions in American history.”

Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff

Benioff retweeted anti-ban sentiments before posting his own thoughts.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg was quick to lambast the immigrant ban in a Facebook post Friday.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Musk called the ban “not the best way to address the country’s challenges.”

Foursquare

Foursquare said in a series of tweets Monday that it opposes Trump’s immigration order. “At their core, our company, products, community and country are rooted in diversity & inclusion,” the company said.

Skift Co-Founder Jason Clampet
Clampet said in Skift’s newsletter that travel industry leaders “have to figure out how we move from here, and the biggest role we have is to fight for the right of free movement of people — ALL of us, every color, every race, every orientation — in and out of America and beyond, and the future of a connected world outside of the neo-isolationist bubbles.”

WPP CEO Martin Sorrell

The CEO of the British advertising company told CNN that it was too early to judge the full impact of the ban. But he said his gut reaction was that “this sort of restriction is unfair, or has unfair consequences on innocent people.”